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Do you think I can reach the crater? Pucón Villarrica volcano insights

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It most definitely leaves you breathless, (not just because of the stunning views from the top!); and you will spend the rest of your time in Pucón staring up at the crater wondering how your body made it to the top. Definitely unmissable and without doubt unforgettable, the full day ascent of the Villarrica volcano is a top priority on your to do list in Pucón.

Ascenso al Volcan Villarrica - Sol y Nieve Travel Adventure 1

The main question from anyone considering the hike is "Do you think I will be able to do it?". That is of course a very difficult question for anyone to answer. It is highly subjective according to life experiences to date, level of fitness, mental stamina, and general feeling of health and wellbeing on the day of the ascent. Regardless you can take some simple steps to optimize your chances. Read on for more info.

Interestingly, years of experience have also taught local guides that nationality can hugely influence the expectation of what such a day involves. I shall quickly add the caveat that these comments are totally general, and are simply based on observation. Brazilians for example have had little contact with snow, the feeling of cold caused by it, and the skill set needed for walking on it. Central Europeans are much more accustomed to these conditions and can often set off too fast and exhaust themselves too early. It is wise to think over your own contact (or lack of) with any similar conditions in the past and take these into account when discussing your own ascent with your guide.

Pace is crucial. It will be set by your guide, not you. Trust in this person who has safely ascended and descended that same volcano hundreds of times in their career. If it feels slow, simply enjoy the views, take loads of photos and maintain your energy reserves for the final push after the false summit. On that point of the ascent, many people fail mentally. As you are approaching the false summit, it is easy to feel that you are about to reach the crater. It looks as if you are nearly there, you can't see any more land to ascend beyond; your legs are tired and your stomach is telling you you need some food intake.


On reaching the false summit the remainder of the hike is revealed in all its steep glory, and that, combined with fatigue can beat some people into opting for an early descent. Once again, your guide will step in at this point to remind you to eat something that is energy packed, take a rest, enjoy the view and refuel on mental and physical energy supplies for that last push. Take a look at this previous blog for some ideas about alternative packed lunches.

Snacks are super important too. As is the condition of your head on the morning of the ascent. Pucón is full of fun bars and hostels that offer the perfect opportunity to stay up chatting with another beer in hand. But you are paying good money to achieve something amazing, once in a lifetime amazing. So why jeopardize it because you are not running on a full tank due to one too many the night before. Eat a carb packed pasta meal, grab a good breakfast, stock up on energy bars, (sugar stuffed fruit, Gatorade or equivalent, nuts and raisins), and, even if it seems like a huge amount to carry, make sure you have at least 2 litres of water with you.

These tips will see you jumping like these happy clients at the crater, and will also see you safely back down to the base. You will relive your experience for decades, and your photos of the other volcanoes, lakes and forests in our beautiful area taken from the top of the world at the crater, will make others simply exhale a "Wow!, where is that?. What an achievement!".


For more information and details on equipment, check out this previous blog "Behind the Scenes – Villarrica Volcano", or contact Sol y Nieve direct here.

Come join the club of happy Sol y Nieve Villarrica volcano crater jumpers!

©Sarah White2015-Author's rights reserved


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Guest Friday, 18 January 2019